By Charlie Trueman-Smith
The Owls started the day four points outside the play off places with Ipswich occupying the final play off place on 34 points. The Owls came into the game on the back of 6 games without a win in all competitions. Carlos showed his intentions by starting Lucas Joao, Gary Hooper and Fernando Forestieri for the first time. Wolves lined up with two ex Owls in the starting eleven with Danny Batth and Benik Afobe, both former loanees at Hillsborough.
The nerves from the last six games showed in the early stages as Benik Afobe got behind the Wednesday defence but a combination of Sam Hutchinson and Kieran Westwood kept the visitors out. Jordan Graham looked very dangerous on the right hand side and his mazy run down the right hand side produced an excellent piece of defending from Jack Hunt. The nervous start continued with Ross Wallace giving the ball away to James Henry who spotted Kieran Westwood off of his line and tried to lob the goalkeeper, his effort just landed on the top of the net. The early pressure for the away side finally paid off as a clumsy challenge by Jack Hunt on Matt Doherty, the referee pointed to the spot. Benik Afobe stepped up and sent Kieran Westwood the wrong way and then went on to cup his ears in front of the kop end. This goal seemed to kick the Owls into action and a brilliant ball in behind the back four fell to Lucas Joao and his touch drove him into the box, the Owls striker was sent tumbling and the referee gave his second penalty of the day, however the biggest surprise was that the referee didn`t produce a card. Fernando Forestieri slotted the penalty past Carl Ikeme scoring his seventh goal in the championship. His eighth goal closely followed, Lucas Joao occupied both Ebanks Lendell and Danny Batth and created a hole of space for Fernando Forestieri to ghost in and put the Owls in front. The Owls were looking much stronger but Jordan Graham was still a threat producing a great cross which Nathan Byrne headed over the bar with the goal at his mercy. At the end of thefirst half the Owls had two opportunities to extended their lead. The first chance fell to Forestieri who`s attempt was blocked by Carl Ikeme and Joao and Wallace both attempted to find the target and failed. The second chance came from a pass back, as Carl Ikeme picked up a pass from Kevin McDonald. Forestieri laid off Ross Wallace who fired into the mass of bodies on the line the follow up by Lucas Joao hit the crossbar.
Half Time: 2 Sheffield Wednesday – 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Jordan Graham again looking the most dangerous at the start of the second half his cross was cleared well by Glen Loovens as Benik Afobe lurked at the back post. The Owls extended their lead as the ball fell to Daniel Pudil in the box who finished perfectly in the top right hand corner. Another former Owls came off of the bench for Wolves as they replaced Nathan Byrne with Grant Holt. The Owls players continued to find Fernando Forestieri but he just couldn`t find the net. He was found brilliantly by Gary Hooper but Dominic Iorfa defended well and forced Forestieri to shoot from the angle and smash the ball wide. Forestieri was replaced by Adthe Nuhiu. Nuhiu who performed poorly on Tuesday night and was replaced at half time wasted no time getting into the action. He picked the ball up on the right hand touch line and brushed his man aside, he then drew the attention of Danny Batth with two step overs this created space for Gary Hooper. Nuhiu found Hooper and the on loan striker made it two goals in two games with his 200th career goal. Gary Hooper should have had a second goal as Barry Bannan`s sublime chip over the Wolves defence left him one on one but he couldn`t make a firm contact and the chance to extend the lead even further went begging.
Full Time: Sheffield Wednesday 4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Wednesday Move Within A Point of Championship Playoffs
By Charlie Trueman-Smith